A tailor who delivers on time. A Twi newscaster who pronounces MOBILE INTEROPERABILITY with the speed of light. A so-called “man of God” who preaches in trotro without flooding our brows with saliva. These are the little pleasures of life we seek Ogyam. Have we asked for something difficult? No sir. But where lies the pleasure in life when you are a full time Ghanaian? Even the hardworking ones like me don’t find it easy so what lies the fate of the lazy ones. I’m not lazy Ogyam, I wake up every morning as early as 4am to switch off my alarm clock then go back to sleep, and when it’s 6.30am, I get up and prepare for work. The discontentment that comes with it, the absurdities attached to it and the farcicality of the phrase “God is a Ghanaian” makes me nauseous. Be honest Ogyam, sometimes you become too tired of being a Ghanaian. Anaa meboa?
Why am I angry? Well, a lot of reasons. Funerals Ogyam, funerals. I attended one over the weekend. The atmosphere was poignant and melancholic. The deceased was a friend of mine, a drunk taxi driver knocked the life out a 24-year-old lady and sped off. You should have seen her mother Ogyam, the tears that run down her cheeks into her tear-soaked dress were different from the one she welcomed her baby girl some 24 years ago with. She could have said a lot, but at that period, you could tell her tears were the words her heart couldn’t utter, and as she sat through the funeral proceedings, the memories of her daughter were sneaking out of her eyes and rolling down her cheeks. Pray Ogyam, may our parents never bury us. But tell me, why are funeral proceedings held in local language but tributes are read in English. And to think that one fella plagiarized the tribute he read irked me. “Some broken hearts never mend, some memories never end, some tears never dry, our love for you never dies”, he read proudly without crediting and referencing his source. Whoooo, yo, that’s a line from Don Williams. Opana thought he was the only one at the funeral grounds who listens to country music. Oh here’s what’s making me angry, the runaway driver is yet to be found.
Why am I angry? Well, a lot of reasons. Time Ogyam, time. I spent more than 6 hours at the DVLA, GCB bank and the Ghana Revenue Authority combined. All businesses within these three entities weren’t expected to exceed an hour and half even if you factor in the distances among them. And if you know Tarkwa well, you’ll agree that GCB bank is just a stone throw away from the GRA. It wasn’t even with the long queues; I’m used to queues. Some years back in Cape Coast, I joined a long queue inside the then Ghana Commercial Bank just to withdraw fifty cedis. That was the time mobile money wasn’t a thing and my ATM card had expired. From the bank, I joined another long queue to buy credit for my prepaid meter. Once I had been served, I had to join another long queue to buy waakye to cap the day off. See, endurance, is my middle name. However, what happened at the bank, DVLA and GRA made me question my ability to bear prolonged exertion. Tell me Ogyam, what do these guys really mean when they say “network is down”, thus their ability to execute their task to perfection is being hampered. To say I was frustrated is only disdainfully mocking, pure understatement.
Why am I angry? Well, a lot of reasons. Precision Ogyam, precision. The passport office said your passport will be ready in two weeks, that was five months ago you’re still waiting for it. The repairer said your TV will be ready in two days, stop going there every week. Your debtor said your money will be ready at the end of the month but you see, your ways aren’t his ways, your 30 days is his 30 minutes, relax. I know what you’re thinking, the fact that I promised to send you this letter in September doesn’t mean I’m part of the people I’m reproaching. One more thing Ogyam, have you realized we are never specific even with time. “Hey Kwaku, what time should we visit Fafa”? Kwaku will look at you strangely and answer, “Let’s go around 5pm”. The problem here is, 4.30pm is around 5pm. 5.15pm is around 5pm. Even 5.59pm is around 5pm. Ask a brother when an event he’s organizing or a party he’s throwing will start and he will tell you ‘’around 7 – 7.30pm there’’. Nkwaseasem. Every Ghanaian is guilty concerning this crime, even the ones complaining and criticizing most are more culpable. Our lives are akin to the proverbial bird in Akan folklore who muddies the river at its north end then fly southwards to enquire why the river is dirty.
You can’t be an optimist and hope to survive in this town we call Ghana (that in itself makes you an optimist though). At every turn, you must be prepared that the worst will happen. Expect the programme to start late. Expect your business partner not to show up in time. Expect they will run out of drinking water at the wedding (it happened) and expect Jesus not to show up to turn water into wine should you run out of that too. Expect ECG to do their thing whiles it rains. Expect the seatbelt in the taxi to be faulty. Expect your employer to pay your salary late. Expect the government not to honor their campaign promise. But whiles you’re at it, be sure not to settle for less, do not applaud mediocrity.
It is for these and many other reasons I prayed to God to grant me patience and mercy to help me deal with the struggles and toils of being a Ghanaian. Two days ago, I met a newly posted national service personnel in town, a lady by name Patience Asante. And I’m told the new mobile money vendor in my neighborhood is called Mercy. You see what lack of clarity can do? So I went down on my knees and prayed to God once again, “Yehowa, when I asked for patience and mercy, I wasn’t referring to the daughters of Eve. I need to cultivate the ability to endure waiting, and I seek your compassion and kindness to live in this dreaded land”. However, Onyankopɔn in his infinite wisdom grants us more than our hearts desire in his own appointed time. If you know, you know.
Being a Ghanaian isn’t that simple. This is why I’m angry
HASTA LA VISTA